Thursday, May 24, 2007

The fifth Warble passes the flame

Warbles plus one
Above: The Warbles plus one, 2006

Today the whole school walked to the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre to see our second free concert by The Warbles, this time their sequel show, The Warbles Go to the Opera. Once again, four classically-trained opera singers played their stage personas to the hilt: passionate French girl, Sylvie Soprano; swashbuckling Barry Baritone; magical Miffy Mezzo; and - performing his debut just for us - a new version of T-shirt-wearing ocker, Terry Tenor.

The students were mesmerised, not just by the songs, props and costumes, but by the theatre environment, the footlights and spotlights, the (new) smoke machine - and the inevitable return of the somersaulting, kookaburra hand puppets!

This time, we saw Wagnerian Valkeries, the sinister Phantom of the Opera, the ever-popular Doh Rey Mi from "The Sound of Music" - and a different male teacher up on stage to dance with Sylvie and defend her honour against Prince Vince the Invincible (aka Barry) and the Phantom (aka Terry).

Last year, Sylvie came down off stage, mid performance, and selected me from the audience. With zero rehearsal time, she involved me in a very energetic waltz up on stage, much to the delight of all the students (and staff). This time, Sylvie asked for a male teacher volunteer to join her - and every head swiveled in my direction. Ooops. Did I really need a second five-minutes of fame? I sat it out and, as soon as the students started chanting the name of a male colleague (unsuccessfully attempting to blend into the seat coverings of the back row), I ran up to his row and escorted him down towards Sylvie.

"I had a turn last year," I reminded Sylvie. "Someone else should have a turn".

"I remember you...", she said later.

So, with Mr E safely up on stage, I beat a hasty retreat back to my seat. "Dancing With the Stars", "It Takes Two" and "Australian Idol" have a lot to answer for.

Great show, Warbles! Congratulations on some very engaging performances, which will live in many of the children's memories forever.

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